Photos, Words and Video by G.
In the 1980s when I was a kid and I turned on the radio to the current pop music stations, I vividly remember my parents thinking our music was “just a bunch of noise” in comparison to the classic rock and roll of the era they grew up in. Years later, we gained an appreciation of each others music primarily based on the lasting effects both kinds of music had on the world. I’ve always tried to stay current on the latest in music and in the streaming music generation and it gets harder and and harder to find music that I could find myself wanting to listen to one time, let alone over and over again. I have found myself retreating to “obscure indie bands” so that at a minimum, I can listen to music being made and sung by actual musicians. I am really not a fan of the autotune world we live in, where it takes over 5 writers to compose the most simplistic and banal lyrics imaginable. I have also found that mainstream radio, which I used to enjoy so much, is so offensive to my ear drums, I’d rather listen to silence than what the current pop channels have to offer.
With that being said, for a lot of the modern music super stars, I am familiar with their names (primarily because they can’t seem to keep out of the scandal pages for being despicable people – but we’ll save that discussion for another time), and I find I don’t know the music that makes them famous. When a name keeps popping up, I often take a chance and go see them live and I experience their music for the first time when they are standing before me. Also a discussion for another time – try it some time. It really takes you out of your comfort zone and I can say from doing this hundreds of times, there are not a lot of people that are willing to take this chance. When I did this for Miley Cyrus last year, I found myself feeling like an “old person” as I was completely shocked at how bad her music was (despite thinking she had a good voice) and also what a bad role model she is for teens, her main audience, who attended the concert without parental supervision, dressing up like complete sluts and in winter time, no less! Trust me, I am one of the most liberal people you’ll ever meet and I found myself cringing with horror, which messes with my head because it makes me feel like I am an old person who is judging the youth.
Enter Abel Tesfaye, also known by his stage name: The Weeknd (sic). Three of his songs slipped onto my radar: “Nocturnal,” a dance track with Disclosure, “Prisoner,” a duet with Lana Del Rey (a track I don’t really care for, but I like Lana’s vocals) and “Can’t Feel My Face,” an uptempo track that almost rips off the music for a song called “Jaded” by Soul Decision verbatim (but I like that song). That was enough for me to go see The Weeknd, who played 4 sold out shows at New York arenas (2 at Madison Square Garden and 2 at Barlcays Center in Brooklyn). If a performer can play to approximately 70,000 people over the course of 1 week, his music must be something special, so I took a chance and went to see him at Barclays Center on November 19, 2015.
At the conclusion of The Weeknd’s show, I found that he has a decent voice and I enjoyed the light show that included explosions and fire. What I didn’t enjoy was walking out of the concert feeling dumbfounded in a similar manner (but with different circumstances) like I did when I left the Miley Cyrus concert a year ago at the same venue. I should also point out that I do my best to avoid the news, but occasionally, items hit my radar, typically after they are discussed ad nauseum. One such item is “Black Lives Matter.” It’s hard to escape that sound byte. With what little I know on the matter, one way to make that so is for all of us, black, white or green to start treating each other with respect. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but to the 70,000 that sang along word for word to songs by The Weeknd, the so called “N-Word” was uttered so many times that I lost count. In my opinion, it sets any progress this movement might have made backwards by leaps and bounds and not only is this guy selling out arenas, but he is also winning awards for his music! WHAT??? Nearly every song is bragging about being high out of his mind, fucking, beating up and degrading bitches (his words, not mine) and causing havoc with his niggaz (his words, not mine). Sounds like he should be in jail instead of being celebrated as the “new Michael Jackson.” This is like a Kathy Bates in Misery moment, where you want to shout “HAVE YOU ALL GOT AMNESIA!?” Do parents know what their kids are really listening to? And if so, Madonna and 2 Live Crew are owed an apology because at the time, they were mocked for being too scandalous and that stuff could be taught in church in comparison to what The Weeknd was telling his followers! So with that, I decided to compile a list of 10 of the most horrifying lyrics I heard at The Weeknd’s concert. The items that make the list are included for their horrifying lyrical content, because if we wanted to do one with all the bad grammar and misspelled words, we could be here for days.
After the jump, see if you are as horrified as I am or if you think I am an oldster that needs to get with the times. Please let me know in the comments section, and include your age if you would, please.